Prior to setting up Reboot Dorset Fitness Boot Camp I have had experience working in many different types of gyms, from within the military through to civilian private health clubs, public health clubs and leisure centres.
There seems to be various areas of importance depending on the type of establishment you attend. I found that the best results were attained within the military gymnasiums. I spent some time at Worthy Down Training Camp in Winchester and the main focus of importance was results, ie specified goals, linked with appropriate assessments and training, with realistic timelines to enable the individual to develop and improve gradually and incrementally. The instructional content was not designed as a ‘feel good’ factor for the clients – it was there to achieve a set outcome.
When I left the Army in 2002 I went straight into the private sector, teaching various group exercise classes and developing training programmes. Time and time again I meet people who want to turn up to sessions and get away with as little as they can but expect to see results. They have the mentality that attending a training session reflects accomplishment, rather than working hard to achieve results. I believe this is down to both instructional expertise and the general gym ethos.
I have also worked as a Gym Manager within several private health clubs and found it was all about sales, ie new memberships, maximising profit, personal training or the new fad health supplement that the club had signed up to. Little, if any focus, was placed on increasing the clients’ physical ability or aiding their clients to achieve goals.
A typical gym with around 20 running machines, swimming pool and say 20-30 weight training stations requires between 4,000-8,000 members, paying regular membership, to cover costs. Yet they only have enough equipment for around 100 clients to use the establishment at any one time.
When you sign up to a gym the gym instructor may take you around the gym, advising you to spend around 10 minutes on two or three various types of cardiovascular equipment like the stepper, x-trainer and rower, then suggests you use half a dozen weight machines before relaxing in the pool or sauna. The first time you leave the gym feeling great then after several visits find the routine quite easy. You weigh yourself several months later with little or no change whatsoever. The lack of results and momentum may mean that you use your gym once a month, if at all, but continue to pay your monthly membership. Obviously this is great for the gym but not so good for the client who has never set or achieved a physical goal and may actually have put weight on.
I have yet to meet an establishment that runs proper physical assessments on their clients, for example a timed run, 1 x repetition maximum, best effort sit-ups or press-ups. This means that clients have no idea of their current fitness levels or how they have improved. This is all covered in greater detail during our 5 day fitness boot camps.
I know it all sounds very negative but there is light at the end of the tunnel. By following a proper training schedule, whether strength, endurance, speed or a combination of all three, you can begin to train efficiently with training sessions that work for you. At one particular council owned gym that I worked for I was informed that clients did not want to get fit, they just wanted to turn up to make themselves feel better. If this is how health clubs and leisure centres are setting their standards then the levels of obesity and health related diseases are only going to continue to rise.
Billions of pounds have been spent on research to find out how we can most efficiently get stronger, faster and all together fitter. This information is used for athletes all around the world yet facilities that the general public use do not adapt these proven methods. To see how you can start to train smarter why not check out one of our fitness boot camps via our home page.
Well that is it from me for now!